Archive for September, 2008

The Art of Business.

I never intended to go a week without posting. It just happened. Thanks for checking in while I was out.

This past friday I spent the entire day with really talented, and creative people. Women entreprenuers (most who are in the ‘start-up’ phase) all gathered for this fabulous Start Up Princess event called TOUCHPOINT in Salt Lake City, UT. It was wonderful to be so enlightened and educated in an environment that was focused on WOMEN in business. Cause let’s be honest…girls are a whole lot different than guys in this field:) I met so many great people with GREAT ideas and GREAT businesses. I met Jodi with Baby Bambu, Rebecca with Cap trappers, Chantelle with Zoom concierge services, I met the talented Ashely from Isabella’s umbrella. I met Kelly who markets her husband’s art just to name a few.

After this meeting, I felt motivated to discus in my blog some more of the “business” aspects of what I do…not because I have oodles of knowledge, but I find that there are so many ‘unspoken’ and ‘behind the scenes’ with how to start a business selling your craft. And from the readership I know about, I know a lot of you have ETSY shops, or want to get started with something similar.

And if I learned anything from the all day conference on Friday, it is networking and connecting is that greatest way to learn! In the beginning, when I was starting my ETSY shop, I would email people doing what I wanted to do, and what I thought was ‘harmless’ info that I needed, was almost like held secrets for others. I am of the philosophy that there is enough success to go around in this world. So, why not share and support each other in the mean time? I felt so supported from the other women on Friday who seem to be facing similar problems and who have similar motivations and goals.

So, I am adding a new section to my blog called “A bit of biz.” And that is what they will be. Bits. Cause that is all I know right now. Just bits. But, so far they work for me, so I thought I would share:)

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A bit of biz: the elevator pitch.

Ok. So, I am a new fan of elevator pitches.

Elevator what?

Ya. I thought that too.

With this event in Salt Lake City, I knew there was going to be an elevator pitch competion with prizes $2000 in products and services, so I decided to figure out what was so great about it.

Google is my friend, and I learned very quickly that:

An elevator pitch (or elevator speech) is an overview of an idea for a product, service, or project. The name reflects the fact that an elevator pitch can be delivered in the time span of an elevator ride (for example, thirty seconds or 100-150 words). (from Wikipedia).

Why was this appealing to me? Because I had no idea how to sum up my product (without any visuals) in such a short amount of time, and I knew that if I knew how to, I would be a lot more successful at getting other people to believe in or be interested in supporting my business.

An elevator pitch is typically presented to a panel of investors who would be lending you money to start or further your business. So numbers and stats are a big part of the presentation as well. All of which I needed to know for myself anyways.

So, I wrote. I revised. I sent it to my Dad. I wrote some more. And then I hacked chopped cut and erased.

And, well….I won.

You can read about here. Not the best photo of me, but well, I was rather unaware that someone was taking picture because I was in complete shock that I won! It was a HUGE leap out of my comfort zone to present in front of a panel of judges as well as a large audience of business owners. But, getting out of your comfort zone is just what you need to build strength and confidence, and that was my main motivation. It wasn’t fun, but it was worth it!

But even if you aren’t going to pitch to investors, you NEED to know what you are about clearly and concisely. I didn’t realize how hard that was till I got started on this.

Here is what you need to answer:

  1. What is your product or service?
  2. Who is your market?
  3. What is your revenue model? (how do you plan on making a profit)
  4. Who is behind the company?
  5. Who is your competition?
  6. What is your competitive advantage?

Asking yourself these questions and writing them down will reveal so much to you. Especially when you put it in the context of someone challenging you. What DO you sell? Does it have a CLEAR branding? Who is your competition? How are you different? What is your plan to succeed in a competitive market?

All these questions I really wasn’t that excited to answer. I mean, “I am an artist, right? I just really like to draw!” Well, if you plan on making any profit from your hobby, you REALLY need to answer these questions. And believe me. It is harder than it looks. But, when you do, you will have a clearer vision of how to succeed with what you really love to create. Have fun!

29/09.
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Happy Birthday.

Dear Mr. Incredible,

Today is your birthday. The big THREE-ZERO. I remember the first birthday I got to spend with you. I actually didn’t know it was your birthday…we were just well aquainted class mates at the time, and you were to modest to tell all that you were turning 19. I felt terrible I didn’t know. Well, after 11 birthdays spent with you, you still are too modest to tell anyone. So, I will do it for you. Happy Birthday my love. How did I get so lucky to marry Mr. Incredible? I still can’t figure it out…so let’s just eat cake. I love you!

xoxo

yours truly

22/09.
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What a lovely afternoon for updating the shop.

They are here! Another bookplate (which I wish you could see in person…they are DARLING!) and 2 more cards for the shop: “I love my sister” and “I love my brother.”

I also have both of these prints for sale together as a set like the other elephant and giraffe set. So fun! Oh…and there is more coming soon! I am signing off to get back to work! xoxo sarah jane

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This is the way we work at our house.

This is how I clean my house:

I turn on the water in the kitchen sink.

Me: (in my staged-panicky voice):

“Oh no! Would you just look at this messy sink! What ever shall we do!”

Addie:“Oh!!! Mommy!! I want to do the dishes!!”

Ian: “Ditheth, Ditheth!”

Good to go. Chairs at the sink, and they will last 1/2 hour while I vacuum, fold laundry, clean counters, etc. Granted, there is a river to clean up after wards (a soapy river), but I have a clean house!

This is how I make dinner:

Me (in my overly-distressed voice):

“Oh no!! Dad is going to be home soon, and we have got to make dinner fast!”

Addie: ” I want to make dinner!”

Ian: “Make dough!”

Great! Chairs at the counter, I hand them any thing I can find. The other night it was lime rinds, hot pink sugar cookie sparkles, frozen peas and salt. Mmmmmmmm. I can work at the stove without little fingers getting dangerously in the way, and It makes my cooking look REALLY good:)

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Design This Design That.

Hi all. Check this out:

SUPER cool new design online magazine: Design this design that. The entire edition is dedicated to illustrators. I’m on page 58-59. Some are new to me, and some have been my favorites for a while. Have fun reading!

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Happy site friday: inchmark.

New found blog. Go make this. Simply brilliant.

12/09.
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A bit of an early spook.

Ok, so I am about ready to start putting my seasonal prints and stationary up for sale…but before I do, I would love to know what you think about this one. I am trying out a couple new things in photoshop, and I thought it was perfect for a vintage-y halloween spookiness. Haven’t decided if I want to order these as postcards…what do you think?

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